Happy, Healthy & Horsey: Caring for the Finest Horse in the Barn

“What would you change about your own life (e.g., eating, exercise, etc.) if YOU were the finest horse in your barn?”

2020 begins in just a few hours. A new year. A new decade. An opportunity to review my life and see if I am living with intention or just letting the days slip by unnoticed.

As regular readers of this column know, I have been working with Katrina Love Sennets for the past few years to help me learn about life balance, nutrition, healing and living the life I truly want.

My mare, Grace, sporting her western tack. (She’s actually a dressage diva at heart.)

Katrina and I enjoyed a year-end Skype session not long ago. Surprisingly (to me, anyway), she had all her notes from the years we have invested together. Wow oh wow, I am not where I want to be, fitness and weight-wise, but I sure have come a loooong way, baby.

Four years ago, I was in a declining marriage and sleeping on a daybed in my own house. I was much heavier, out of shape, out of breath and out of hope.

These days, I live alone, and happily so, surrounded by my horses, cats, dogs and a host of wild animal neighbors. Life is good.

Four years ago, I ran a solo law firm housed in the ‘best’ office building in Knoxville. That’s some high dollar real estate, and for what? Some attorneys specialize in domestic law or criminal defense, thus they are meeting clients in person on a daily basis. My area of expertise, intellectual property, is such that most of my client meetings are via phone or Skype or email. So, a couple of years ago, I moved out of the high-rent district and took my law firm home. This one change saved me literally thousands upon thousands of dollars per year, which, in turn, lowered my stress. Which, in turn, helped me stop stress-eating.

Three months ago, I took a “day job” working for some really cool, hardworking judges. That work, along with my law firm, combine to provide the financial stability that’s required to support this equine addiction we all share.

Four years ago, I had a rough manuscript and a dream. Today, I am a published author. I also have the great privilege of writing here for Horse Nation, as well. I have a couple of other manuscripts in the works, and I enjoy doing book talks and author signings whenever time and opportunity permits.

As Katrina and I were recapping all the progress I have made, she asked me some probing questions about my current goals and priorities. I’m still nowhere near my “goal” weight and that bothers me. A lot.

So Katrina, like all great teachers, asked some wonderful questions that led my brain down a path towards self-awareness that exploded into enlightenment. Before you write me off as “too zen,” stay with me and let me explain.

She asked me about which areas of my life are “in place.” In other words, those aspects of living where I feel like I have achieved my goals.

Music? Check. I play the piano and drum and do both sufficiently well to satisfy the level of expertise I desired to attain.

Housing? Check. I am blessed with the home and farm of my dreams. All I gotta do is keep on payin’ the monthly mortgage . . .

Transportation? Check. I drive a great pickup that does everything I need it to do and it’s paid for.

I invite you to take your own self-inventory of areas of life where you are where you want to be, by the way. It was very uplifting to consider aspects of my life where I have actually achieved the goal I set for myself, sometime (like with a house/farm) many years ago. Dreams do come true!

Grace and visiting a friend’s ranch in Wyoming. The Diva worked cows that summer!

But then we talked about my weight and fitness goals. Not there yet. I started to whine about how I have very little time for preparing healthy meals, often bolt my food on the go, etc.

So Katrina asks me about my horses. “Do you ever skip a day of feeding them?”

The very question was absurd.

“Absolutely not.”

“You feed them every day, without fail, right?”


“And you feed your horses the very best food and hay you can find, right?”


“And you make sure they have plenty of fresh water, right?”


“So, Esther, what if you were the finest horse in your barn?”

And, just like that, friends, decades of excuses evaporated into thin air.

My best mare, Lady Grace, is the queen of my farm and the diva of my heart. She wants for nothing. Nothing. She gets the very best care, the best feed, best hay, fresh water, plenty of exercise to keep her relatively fit and a few treats along the way to spoil her just a little.

So why don’t I set that high standard for my own care, food, and well-being?

In all the years of yo-yo diets and fad exercise DVDs and berating myself endlessly for never getting all the pounds off, it never once occurred to me that all I really need to do is set a standard of care for me that is parallel to the standard I set for my horses.

That single, profound concept — I should take as good care of me as I do my animals — has been transformational for me. High quality food is my right, and yours. Focused exercise is an investment in my long-term strength and fitness, just as it is for Lady Grace. Taking time to sit down and eat excellent food like a civilized human being is not only more enjoyable, it helps one’s digestion and overall health and wellbeing.

So here’s a question for you to consider:

What would you change about your own life (e.g., eating, exercise, etc.) if YOU were the finest horse in your barn?

Her Royal Highness, Lady Eleanor Grace Roberts.

Share in the comments and let’s support one another to be our very best selves in 2020!